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The date was July 2 2012, and Army 1L Clint Lorance had been a platoon leader for only three days. His mission was to lead a combat patrol from an Army outpost to a village in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.

The patrol moved carefully through rows of grapes growing in a field where months earlier a platoon had been attacked, leaving a soldier paralyzed. The platoon leader at that time was injured when an IED blew up in his face. Lorance was his replacement.

 

Suddenly, three men riding a motorcycle approached the platoon along a road known as a “Taliban safe haven.” Fearing for the safety of his men, Lorance ordered a machine gunner to fire. Two of the men were killed, and the third escaped.

After a paratrooper reported that one of the men was a village elder, an investigation and subsequent trial determined Lorance was guilty of two counts of murder, and one of attempted murder. He is currently serving a 19-year sentence in Leavenworth.

 

Lorance is seeking to get the conviction thrown out, with his lawyers arguing important evidence about his case was never allowed during the trial.

Prosecutors had maintained the victims were just “village elders,” but Lorance and his team say they had evidence the men on the motorcycle were Taliban bombmakers.

Per American Military News, When an IED in Afghanistan explodes or is defused, the military may collect fingerprints or DNA left on wires or other bomb parts.

According to Lorance’s petition, fingerprints had been left on bomb components from IED events by one of the men killed and the man who escaped.

“The prosecutor did not bring the terrorist evidence to the attention of the military judge,” the petition said. “The bombmaking information was not before the jury, either during the trial phase on the merits, or during the sentencing phase.”

 

Also withheld during the trial was a report that found Lorance’s platoon was being scouted for a planned ambush.

Lorance’s attorney, Christopher Joseph, said withholding that evidence was “the single most egregious violation and one which is really not defensible.”

Had that evidence been allowed at the trial, Lorance would likely not be sitting in Leavenworth for murder. He’d simply ordered his gunner to fire on enemy combatants.

The case is being considered now by U.S. District Judge John Lungstrom, who will ultimately decide whether or not the conviction stands. Lorance has also petitioned President Trump, who could vacate the conviction.

Lorance is among a group of soldiers once known as the “Leavenworth 10,” former members of the US Military incarcerated at Leavenworth for killing members of Al-Qaeda or Iraqi insurgents — in other words, simply doing what they were sent to do. Of the original ten, only Lorance and 1SGT John Hatley remain behind bars.

 

Will justice be done? Time will tell.

 

In May of this year, Trump granted a full pardon to former Army 1L Michael Behenna. And as we’ve reported here, all charges against former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher were finally dropped.

But it also bears noting that the Army is considering overturning the sentence of deserter Bowe Bergdahl.

Why? Because President Trump’s criticism of Bergdahl amounted to “undue command influence.” In 2015, while campaigning for president, Trump commented “In the old days when we were strong and wise, we [would] shoot a guy like that.”

In the end, Bergdahl received a demotion, $10,000 fine and dishonorable discharge after he pleaded guilty to “desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.”

 

He walks free. Lorance is locked up. It’s a messed up world.

 

 

 

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5 Responses

  1. Lucy Nadeau

    Clint Lorance has been nothing but a scapegoat for the Army. It is a travesty that this man is still in prison for doing nothing more than what he was trained to do. There is OVERWHELMING evidence that proves he is innocent of what the Army claims he has done, but because they want to “save face”, they are playing games and refuse to allow it to be used to free him. The Army (the prosecution) had this evidence the whole time and did not provide it to Clint’s original defense attorney—that in itself speaks volumes of how rotten to the core they are. Now, even in civilian court, they want to continue to play games with this man’s life! The nonsense needs to cease! These were NOT civilians!! They ALL were IED bomb makers! They ALL were in a clearly identified area that they should not have been in and they did not turn away when instructed to do so. I feel no pain for the ENEMY, only CLINT who has been in prison, for SEVEN YEARS….FOR DOING NOTHING WRONG. Let that sink in. (I’d LOVE a shirt supporting Clint if you guys would make one..hint, hint! 🙂 )

    Reply
  2. Bigfoot

    Do you want us to fight?
    Turn us loose!
    Or do you want us to babysit?
    Make up your damn mind!
    R.O.E. does NOT exist in Wartime!
    Turn this innocent man loose, dismiss all charges.

    Reply
  3. Nelda Causey

    A terrible miscarriage of justice in Clint’s case! PARDON CLINT LORANCE

    Reply
  4. Patti Coats

    Strongly believe that both men still incarcerated should have full pardons and also return to service if they so desire.

    Reply

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